Words & photos: Jeff Schmuck
Video: Christian 'Cheech' Sander
The third annual Jon Olsson Super Sessions culminated with last night's highly anticipated JOSS Awards at the Mix Megapol Arena in Åre, Sweden.
The excitement in town throughout the day was absolutely electric, as virtually everyone was counting the seconds until the big show began. However despite the raging anticipation amongst the capacity crowd that poured into the arena, no one was more excited than the teams, who were all chomping at the bit to see each other's finished products while showing off their own in an effort to claim the $20,000 in prize money along with the proverbial feather in your cap that comes with being Jon Olsson Super Sessions Champion.
Colby James West
The hosts with the most, Colby James West & Isabella Löwengrip.
The one and only Colby James West strutted on stage to open the show, filling Luke Van Valin's big shoes as host for the evening along with Swedish celebrity Isabella Löwengrip, who together introduced the teams followed by the man behind the event, Jon Olsson.
The three of them then outlined the night's proceedings, which would include a series of awards, surprises, and most importantly, the teams' videos. Throughout the course of the evening, a series of informative and entertaining behind the scenes videos on Jon's right hand man Peter Sidebo, jump builder David Ny and helicopter pilot Lars Åsengård were also shown, giving credit where credit is due and showing just how much work goes into making this event happen.
Shay Williams, Nate Abbott, Christoffer 'Crill' Kristiansson and Mattias Fredriksson
Also prominently featured was a breathtaking slideshow from the five JOSS staff photographers, Mattias Fredriksson, Nate Abbott, Shay Williams, Thomas Kleiven and Klaus Polzer, which will be reportedly hitting the web for you to drool over sometime tomorrow.
Niklas Ericsson accepts the award for Best Style.
Four individual awards were also dished out during the show, including Best Crash, which went to Gus Kenworthy for head tapping the knuckle of the step-up on a double cork 1260 attempt, Best Trick, to Russ Henshaw for his right side double cork 12, Best Urban, also to Gus Kenworthy, who hit a up-flat-down gap rail that will make you wet yourself when you see it, and Best Style, which was deservingly awarded to Niklas Ericsson for his motionless and overly inverted cork 5 on the step-up.
Colby measuring the crowd's response with the noise-o-meter for the People's Choice Award.
And there was also the People's Choice Award, which would be determined by the loudest ovation from the crowd and recorded by a noise-o-meter held by Colby James West.
Now onto the videos. Up first, Team Sweden. Henrik Harlaut, Niklas Ericsson and Oscar Scherlin all hail from Åre, therefore giving them the home field advantage, which showed in their assassination of various urban features around town. Add that to the fact that they were one of the only teams to incorporate heli shots in their edit (beautifully filmed by last year's second place finishers Joakim Åslund and Ante Olofsson and set to a dramatic beat at the conclusion of their video), along with the ever dripping style from their pores, and their entry will surely be one you'll want to watch again and again and again.
Team Down Under
Team Down Under was up next, with a unique 'Lights Out' theme (set to a song of the same name) that was born out of an appearance from the majestic Northern Lights one evening while we were here in Åre that the extremely talented Jase Hancox took full advantage of. Jossi Wells and Dhanu 'Danger' Sherpa were mildly wounded for the better part of this event, but you could hardly tell in their edit, as the two of them put their smooth style on full display on a variety of jumps and rails while Russ Henshaw proved just how much of the boss he is with double corks every which way along with too many other tricks and grabs to count.
Team Norway followed with a much different but equally powerful edit as last year. The video begins with Andreas Håtveit talking about the changes to this year's team, and introduces the soon to be loved Sigbjørn Tveit to the world. All three then proceed to destroy everything put in front of them with their varying styles, with slow and smooth spins to all sorts of doubles on the JOSS features, and some of the most jaw dropping urban in any of the videos. It was a rock solid showing from the defending country's champs to say the least.
Up next was easily the most entertaining and well-filmed video of the night (courtesy of the amazing Mike Clarke), Team Canada. With a hilarious and mind-boggling edited intro from Voleurz' Darren Rayner that included mild nudity (from guess who?), TJ Schiller, Ian Cosco and Justin Dorey singing the three best friends song from The Hangover, and a pan that's so heavy you won't believe it (you'll see what I mean), the Canadians kicked things off with a bang. And although their film had less shredding than others, all three skied their hearts out to a Canadian-themed song despite being bumped and bruised for the majority of the competition, and had an enjoyable storyline and feel throughout that made you just want to go out and ski with your buddies. Oh, and Chug did the Macarena on the box in the Red Bull Jib Garden, which was amazing.
Up next was YOUR team, Team Newschoolers. The three skiers you voted to represent you seized the opportunity you gave them, and took that ball and ran with it. They were constantly hailed by their fellow competitors as the hardest working team at JOSS, and their edit proved it, with unforgettable showings from all three on the jumps that included some of the smoothest tricks on record by Matt Walker, balls to the walls craziness from LJ Strenio, and flawless technicality by Gus Kenworthy. Duncan Lake and Kevin Steen edited the film to an Alice in Wonderland-type theme where the three are brought together by the NS community to enter the 'JOSS World', which was complemented by Team NS' secret weapon, Kevin Steen's brother Mike, who with Kevin performed some paraglide follow cams. And as for their urban, words can't do it justice, so you'll just have to see it for yourself.
Dropping in second to last was Team Europe, who were arguably the most diverse trio of the bunch with Jacob Wester, Elias Ambuhl and Oscar Harlaut. As expected, all three spent the last two weeks dominating Swedish airspace before the volcanic ash from Iceland took over, and to delight of all threw down some of the most creative urban with two guys (Jacob and Elias) who aren't all that well known for it. JOSS veteran Drew 'The Fatman' Lederer and newcomer Fabian Weber provided the behind the scenes goods with an energetic part (set to the same track from Tom Wallisch's summer edit from Windells) that had the crowd clapping along in aprroval, and you'll no doubt do the same.
And speaking of T-Wall, last but certainly not least was Team America's edit, which was one of the most anticipated entries of the night given how hard they'd be killing it over the past two weeks. The edit begins with a comical intro where Simon Dumont and Tom Wallisch talk about hazing their rookie Alex Schlopy (who's goofball antics will make your roar with laughter), before getting real, real serious with a fist pumping and heart pounding edit from 4bi9's AJ Dakoulas and former Jon Olsson Videoblog kingpin Josh Knox, in which all three absolutely dominate everything they set their skis on. Needless to say, everyone loved it, especially the crowd, who gave them the loudest ovation of the night, earning the boys the coveted People's Choice Award.
Team America accepts the People's Choice Award.
It then came time for the judging, but not before Colby James West and Jon Olsson unleashed a surprise video of their own. Both Colby and Jon had been hitting the jumps all JOSS long as Colby's filmer Mike Thomas flew overhead in the heli, causing everyone in attendance to wonder just what they were up to. And what they were up to was producing a gut-busting dance music video where Colby and Jon throw down a series of ridiculously choreographed dance moves, complete with chicks, skiing, and some hilarious cameos from PK Hunder and Peter Sidebo thrown into the mix. Stay tuned to see it for yourself.
The Judges: Eric Iberg, PK Hunder, Rafael Regazzoni and Hampus Mossesson
As the mood grew tense, the four judges then took the stage to announce their decision. There were five judging categories in total: Technicality (judged by veteran ski competition judge Rafael Regazzoni), Style (by pro snowboarder Hampus Mossesson) Urban (by PK Hunder, who filled in for Nick Martini after he couldn't make it to Sweden thanks to our friend the Icelandic volcano), and Film (judged by the one and only Eric Iberg). The fifth category, Overall Impression, was determined by all four of them, and was worth twice as much as each individual category.
Eric Iberg took the mic and announced that they would only be giving scores to the top three in each category, with 3rd place receiving 1 point, 2nd place receiving 2, and 1st place receiving 3 (and in the Overall Impression category they would receive twice as many).
After it was all said and done and the final scores were placed on the jumbotron, a gasp went out amongst the crowd and teams as it was revealed that there was a three-way tie for first place between Team Canada, Team Newschoolers and Team Norway.
Team Canada wins!
Knowing that Iberg had the situation under control, Colby James West asked him what the solution was, and as the tension reached a boiling point, Iberg took the opportunity to make a bold and strong statement about how the filmmaking aspect of this competition is just as, if not more important than the skiing, by announcing that the since the Overall Impression category was worth the most and therefore most important, and Canada had placed first in it, TJ Schiller, Ian Cosco, Justin Dorey, Darren Rayner and Michael Clarke were given the win.
Team Canada then leapt out of their seats in shock and happiness, and proceeded to pop numerous champagne bottles as their fellow teams surrounded the victors to congratulate them before we all made our way to Bygget to celebrate as a group.
1) Team Canada
2) Team Newschoolers
3) Team Norway
4) Team America (and winner of the People's Choice Award)
5) Team Sweden
6) Team Down Under & Team Europe (tie)
This concludes the most exciting installment of Jon Olsson Super Sessions yet, and Jon has already proclaimed that next year's event will be even bigger and better, and that (in case you're wondering) Team Newschoolers will be back. Check out our interviews with him, Eric Iberg and Team Canada in our final episode of JOSS NSTV below, and be sure to hit up http://www.josupersessions.com and http://www.jon-olsson.com for their event wrap up. Special thanks are very much in order to Jon Olsson, Olivia Rehn, Peter Sidebo, Lina Bertilsson, David Ny, Lars Åsengård and the rest of the hard working staff at JOSS for putting on the coolest and most hospitable event of the year.
NSTV JOSS - JOSS Awards
And, because we know you're all dying to know, here is the information on when the edits will be available...
Just like last year, the first edit (Team Down Under or Team Europe) will go online this Wednesday (April 21st), with a new edit going online every day after that until all seven are available, and they will be released from last place to first.